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how much financial commitment can I expect from my new partner?

(18 Posts)
angrywoman Sat 24-Sep-11 23:25:43

Ok, my partner of 3 years hasn't moved in with us but we have discussed it. I have 3 children, who only see their Dad at a contact centre due to alcohol and mental health issues. My partner has a steady but modest income. I am unfortunately relying on benefits recently, my ex has no income (that he declares) and is no longer contributing at all. I am looking for part time work after a period of education. We have discussed claiming Working Tax Credits on my partner's earnings initially.
My partner has various interests including guitar playing. He has been on a very costly but, according to him, worthwhile music course last year and now he wants to go again in November. It costs around £1000. I have told him that although I respect his decision I will not be over the moon if he goes as looking at finances he would have to budget very very carefully and we need a car if we are to move in together, which I have said I will buy with my savings. I would never dream of spending that much on myself/ a hobby of mine as it would feel so selfish when I could spend it on a holiday with the kids. One holiday we have planned to go on for the last year or so is to visit his relatives abroad... Why should I prioritise this financially if he doesn't? The worst thing is he has been sulking ever since I said this! My life is hideously stressful at the moment and I can't be doing with this immaturity. Maybe he isn't the right man to shack up with at all! Or am I never going to find one who will feel as I do about finances in relation to my children. Is this why people get married?

HerRoyalNotness Sat 24-Sep-11 23:37:01

Does he support you financially now? I'm not quite sure that you can have an opinion on how he spends his money if you aren't living together as a couple.

How does he feel about supporting you and your children? Do you both have the same expectations? Does he have children too? I understand why you feel selfish but if he is basically a single guy, he wouldn't necessarily think of your children when he is spending his wages.

It is something you need to have a big discussion about before you move in to make sure everthing is in the open

incognitofornow Sat 24-Sep-11 23:44:53

Message withdrawn

angrywoman Sat 24-Sep-11 23:45:13

Hmm, no he doesn't have his own children. We have sleepovers every week and have been sharing dinnertimes and the food-buying for a while, he likes cooking. He doesn't think of himself as single. We are looking at moving in together, with me buying the car which we will both drive. His behaviour makes me think that financially he is not ready to commit.

SheCutOffTheirTails Sun 25-Sep-11 00:00:32

Well he might be ready to commit to being part of a couple, but you seem to want him to commit financially to being a father and family man.

I dunno, it's a hard gap to bridge.

People who don't have children get to spend £1000 on music courses if they want to (and they have it). Parents don't normally have that kind of money to spare.

You seem to want him to have the finances of a Dad of 3, despite the fact that he doesn't have any children of his own.

Is he ready to be a stepdad?

Obviously he can't move in with you unless he is.

But even a stepdad isn't necessarily as financially responsible for his stepchildren as the parents are.

Is there a way you could organise his finances that would recognise that he didn't choose to have 3 children and never get to spend any of his money on himself?

I'm normally all about pooled family money, but it doesn't sound like you guys are there yet. Which doesn't mean you won't ever be...

TBH, given the children and their attachment, maybe you should hold off on setting up home together until you are all ready to become one family.

angrywoman Sun 25-Sep-11 12:22:17

Incognito, you expressed my worst fears!! I am just being daft here? I have single friends who won't date any man who earns under a certain amount. However they are childless.

SheCutOffTheirTails Sun 25-Sep-11 12:29:23

They are also dicks.

catsareevil Sun 25-Sep-11 12:35:36

I dont think it is reasonable to expect him to financially prioritise your children in the same way as you do.

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Sun 25-Sep-11 12:41:23

So, is he expecting you to pay his fare when you go on holiday to visit his relatives? Or is he just expecting you to pay for yourself and the kids? And why are you buying the car if you're both going to drive it?

As you're not living together, I think it's understandable that he thinks he can spend his money on himself. Does he contribute towards the cost of the food etc when you eat together? If not, why not?

Have you been explicit with him about your financial expectations? Does he know that you would expect him to support your three kids and give up his own luxuries, and is he happy to make this sacrifice?

Sounds to me like you have a lot of talking to do.

chelen Sun 25-Sep-11 15:27:10

Hi, my take on this is we each have to set our own standards in terms of the level of shared financial planning/input we expect.

I would never have imagined moving in with my OH and not contributing to all the household bills, including child-related costs. The money is a minor bl00dy consideration compared to the grief I get from SS sometimes anyway!

So, if what you want is a man who is willing to take on the whole of the package, the children, the costs etc then you've got a lot to think about. I think money is a major area for conflict so it is necessary to get everything agreed before moving in.

lateatwork Sun 25-Sep-11 21:37:35

but tbh its his money and he wants to spend it on guitar education- you have just spent time on education, so clearly you value it. maybe he thinks a holiday with you and the kids is MORE frivolous...more of a luxury?

but this is all second guessing. you have to decide financial responsibilities before you move in. doesnt matter which way you cut it, or it works out, you just both have to agree.

personally, i would not be happy to be told that i couldnt do something by my partner so that his child could go on holiday... particularly as it was my money that was funding the holiday... and for me that's the point. You seem to think its 'our' money... he sees it as his... of course that can work, just have to have ground rules..

MuthaInsuperior Mon 26-Sep-11 08:38:02

Be careful. I have found that people (especially men) who have never had children find it VERY difficult to adapt to not being the centre of the universe! He shouldn't be spending £1k on a guitar course when you're planning to move in together - he should be showing you that he is ready to make the financial commitment to the entire family BEFORE you move in together.

If he had any common sense he would put that £1k towards the car, not just rely on you buying it.

I wasted 2 years with a similar man-child. He had lots of big ideas about us moving in together (which I told him I wouldn't do until he'd saved up some money and paid off some debt) and he told me he was "on to it". Yet he thought nothing of blowing a month's wages on expensive smart phones, games consoles and £1000 watches.

In hindsight my advice would be - get rid of this boy and find yourself a man.

MuthaInsuperior Mon 26-Sep-11 08:39:34

Lateatwork - I got the impression that the holiday was for her DPs benefit (seeing HIS relatives?) not just a holiday for her and the kids. Correct me if I'm wrong.

lateatwork Mon 26-Sep-11 09:08:06

MuthaInsuperior: I read it as they were considering and saving for multiple holidays together, one of which was to see his relatives, as the OP says '*One holiday* we have planned to go on for the last year or so is to visit his relatives abroad... ' but I very well could be wrong!!

thinking about it, i would also be miffed if I was working FT and my partner was working part time (or not at all...) and expecting me to pay for her children. Imagine if the boot was on the other foot and you were expected to work FT, support DP's 3 children whilst DP was not working or then only working PT.... and then DP was saying you couldnt do the course you wanted to do....

brdgrl Mon 26-Sep-11 21:35:04

I am quite sympathetic to your DP's position, and believe he should spend his money on the course. But I think the best thing really would be for you to both accept that there is no 'right' answer to a question like this, only the answer that works for you as a family. I wouldn't wail and throw up my hands and start saying that the relationship is doomed over this - it just means you have some stuff to talk through and compromise on...and hey - compromise is going to be the mantra and millstone of your new life in a stepfamily.

Personally, I think that the partner without children is entitled to some leeway here (and not just because I was the partner without children when DH and I met!). If there are expenses which the childless partner has been accustomed to making and which are significantly important to him/her, it is reasonable to include these as legitimate expenses in the new family budget. That is not to say that lifestyles shouldn't be altered, or that the childless partner has a license to act irresponsibly. But you need to acknowledge that the music course is important to your partner, and also that a 50/50 financial approach may not be right at this time in your relationship.

In my case, I can think of one area where I have been unwilling (and my DH has never questioned this) to make large cutbacks in my spending. One is travel, to see my parents (from whom I am geographically separated mostly because of DH's circumstances, not my own choice). On the other hand, I have made cutbacks in lots and lots of other areas to meet the realities of family finances! I no longer get new clothes, or have 'nights out'. We have scheduled 'takeaway nights', instead of just eating out when I feel like it. I'm not a single girl anymore, and I don't live as though I were - but just as I knew I was marrying into a family with kids and increased expenses, DH knew what he was getting with me.

(also? amen to shecutofftheirtails grin)

angrywoman Thu 29-Sep-11 16:16:06

Thanks for all your replies. SCOTT, I appreciate that comment! I know it's true and I would HATE to need any mans income again anyway...
The holiday is one among other dreams and would be to visit HIS family abroad, who I have yet to meet. They sound nice and would want to cover our food costs (quite a lot, that, we would have to force money on them). Seems like people have an assortment of views on this. We need to talk it through properly, I know!
He has cancelled his course. Now I am feeling guilty.... sad

Petal02 Thu 29-Sep-11 16:46:23

I've been mulling this over. As you don't currently live with your DP, then I don't think you can expect him to start existing/budgeting like a father of three until you're all under the same roof. Rather like you don't start walking round with a pram until you've actually got a baby. Although if you're both aware that a car is needed for when you do live together, I would expect both parties to contribute, ideally the person with the larger income would make the larger contribution? If he can still afford his guitar course AND contribute towards a car, then fine - but I can understand why you're a bit miffed that you're having to finance this on your own.

It's understandable if he presently has different financial priorities - after all, he doesn't have any children to prioritise, so there's no reason why he would think or budget like a parent. However I agree with the posters who suggest you need to come up with a plan for when you do all live together. This might be a little unpopular, but I don't think it would be entirely fair to ask him to donate his whole salary into the 'household coffers', at least not initially. He should definitely contribute to mortgage/rent, food, utilities etc, but you can't expect him to spend all his money on your children. This could make him very resentful. Don't get me wrong, if this relationship goes the distance, then you'll probably morph into completely joint finances, but to answer your initial question of how much financial commitment can you expect from your new partner - I think you should go easy on this to start with. Otherwise he might question your motives.

kbird Thu 29-Sep-11 16:56:13

I moved in with my partner after 3 yrs. I have 2 young kids, and work part time. She works full time.

Honestly, she has been very generous, BUT you do have to negotiate these things. They have to be discussed, however embarrassing and hideous.

Money can really fk things up, and it's hard enough being the new step parent - loads of potential minefields for them. Loads for us original parents too!

I would advise you to broach the subject of how you are going to fund the household generally. We did it by each putting the same proportion of our income into a joint account. I think that this is fair, if you are both happy to stay in your current work status. I wanted to stay part time as my boys are young, and I am fortunate that my gf understands and agrees with that.

Discuss discuss discuss, but be prepared for answers you mybe won't like, and it could take a while for things to resolve.

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